The Fine Print

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Monday, January 13, 2014

Some Things Are Worth Paying For...

Over this past year we have download, installed and uninstalled countless Apps for our IOS Devices for our little man. Some were hot, some were not! So I set out on a mission in the last couple weeks of 2013 to actually spend some time researching ratings of educational apps for our soon to be "toddler"! The apps that I chose and that he has immediately fallen in love with are very well put together and have learning capabilities that I felt he should be able to grasp, yet not get bored with them two weeks later. I thought I would share my finding....

Night & Day Studios
Peekaboo Barn $1.99 Farmyard animals are always a hit with out guy! In two days he has learnt 3 new animal names in this app!
Peekaboo Fridge $1.99 Great for learning all about food!
Peekaboo Forest$1.99 Every time Jax sees the deer he associates it with John Deere - therefore we always have a laugh when he calls the deer "John's"!
Peekaboo Wild $1.99 Some big names to learn in this app! Jax loves a challenge!
Peekaboo Sesame Street $2.99 One of Jax's favourite due to the characters! Guess the branding is worth the extra $1!!!
Kindermusik $1.99 A Great selection of tunes that he recognizes from class and loves to get down to!
A great feature is that you can actually record your own voice in these apps - so your little one will recognize mommy or daddy or even themselves as they start speaking! The only disappointment I have with this company is that you have to pay twice to have these apps on your IPHONE and IPAD. Kinda sad, seeing that I already gave you my money once. Overall, the screenshots, music and voices are very pleasant to look at and listen too, and the value of $1.99 per app was worth the price.

Duck Duck Moose
Peek-A-Zoo $1.99 Great app with dancing, hiding, eating, wagging tails, sleeping and so much more! At first Jax was a little standoffish of this app - but he now gravitates to it when he wants a little challenge! A little advanced for him right now at 20 months but he will definitely grow into it. Also liked the voices and background music in this one - not annoying if left on for long periods of time! Very important!!!

Tree Betty Design
Peek-a-Zoo (The Original)$2.99 A great way to learn recognizable zoo animal names and sounds!
Peek-a-Zoo Underwater $2.99 Magnificent creatures from the ocean - still trying to peak his interest in this one!
Peek-a-Zoo Train $2.99 Favorite of Jax's - probably due to the CHOO CHOO!!! All aboard!
Peek-a-Zoo Moo $2.99 Jax's love for farm animals grows in this app every day!
First off, I think this is my favourite set of apps visually! Age wise, they are recommended from 9 months to 3 years. They are artistically and tastefully picked pictures that my son adores! Very easily recognizable animals! Secondly, I loved the fact that I could purchase the entire group of apps for $8.99, as they are the most expensive apps that I am reviewing today, at $2.99 a pop - but most definitely worth it! Great work Tree Betty!

THUP Games
Lunchbox Preschool Monkey $1.99
Although this app can be a little loud for my liking, this is Jaxon's FAVORITE games on the entire planet right now!!!! This app has 6 different games that teach kids about colours, letters, counting, shapes, differences and matching. Not bragging here, but my kiddo is DA BOMB at this app!!! We video him 5 times a day, growing smarter and smarter on it!!! Fist bump THUP Games - keep em coming!!!


Marion's Beef Rolls - Recipe Share - Best Appie Of 2014

So I have this wonderful friend named Marion who made these scrumptious little appies for a Ladies Night at my house before the holidays. We all gobbled them down, between sips of beer and wine!!! They tasted like roast beef dinner in a bite! And we all screamed the same thing..."I MUST HAVE THIS RECIPE" which she replied "Oh, they are so easy". Ok, they are "easy", once you get a system in place, and have some guidance (thanks Marion for the last minute pep talk before assembly!) So...the holidays came and went and I took them a couple places and those people said "I MUST HAVE THIS RECIPE". So I decided it was worth posting the play by play on my blog, just incase there was any confusion around some of the directions. So the wait it over - this WILL be your "new favourite appie of 2014" I guarantee you!

So to get started the first thing I did was give my fresh Italian parsley a good wash in my salad spinner. This gets rid of all that crud that you don't see and perks it up a little bit!
Then I pinched off all the parsley leaves from their stems and put them all into my Tupperware Quick Chef System. (On a complete side note - I LOVE this freaking machine - it is easy to use and you control the thickness of fineness of your chopping/dicing/mincing by how many times you pull the cord!) Pulled the cord about 6 times to dice up nicely!
Next, I gave the Quick Chef a quick rinse and tossed in my onions to dice them up. I enjoyed a sip or two of wine at this point, as I didn't have to spend any time wiping tears out of my eyes...because I used the QUICK CHEF! Am I making you want to get one of these gadgets yet?
Meanwhile I melted my salted butter in the microwave until it was warmed and smelt delicious! To that I added the parsley, onion and horseradish - and stirred it all up to incorporate!!!
So I bought the CO-OP brand of Phyllo pastry for a couple reasons - it was cheaper (because everything is so bloody expensive at that store in the first place, and secondly, it was wider than the name brand that they carried. This is important to know, if you are looking for a final number of "bon bon's" that this recipe will make. Once you thaw these pastry sheets overnight in the fridge, you will need to know that you will have to have a clean, damp tea towel to wrap them in once you open the pack. This will keep the pastry sheets from drying out - as they do this very quickly and are very delicate - hence why people don't like working with this pastry. Guarantee disclaimer - these will be sooooo worth the effort to carry on my friends! I kept the folded in the plastic wrap they came in, and just wrapped them loosely in the tea towel.
So when you are ready to start, take out two sheet of Phyllo and place them on top of each other. By the time I had finished making these, I had figured out the trick to perfecting these morsels! When your sheets are laying flat, one on top of the other, fold the top half down of the top sheet. Take your scrumptious horseradish parsley butter and brush on. When you are finished, fold up the top sheet to cover the half that you have buttered. Then do the same with the bottom half, folding up then down. This was my "AHHH HAAAA" moment - so much easier than trying to brush one entire sheet and then trying to line up the top sheet with the two hands you were given!
Then add your second layer of butter mixture...that's right Paula Deen... just a little more but-ah makes it bet-ah!
Here comes the important part - sectioning!!! First cut - your entire two sheets into 4 big rectangles...
Then you are going to cut each big rectangles into 4 small rectangles. These are your pieces you will be rolling up. now you are ready to assemble. Take your slice of deli roast beef, mine was a good wide consistency so I was able to cut each strip into 3 pieces. Place one piece on a rectangle of Phyllo and get ready to roll - baby!!! Only note to mention here is to make sure that your beef is not hanging out the end that will be at the end (the top if you are rolling from the bottom up - which I was), so that it seals properly.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment and place on the sheet when finished rolling. Once you are done the entire sheet (work quickly my friends) I just popped them into the freezer to "flash freeze" them to a consistency that I could then stack them in a container or in ziplocs for further freezing until I am ready to cook them.
So I was such an expert at this by the time I blew through all my roast beef, I thought well, I suppose I could make a variation of this with other meats and butters... so, I took out some homemade cranberry sauce, onions and butter and made some rolls with turkey breast. These were pretty good too! But my favourite are still the roast beef bon bon's! But thought I would share the photos of both...

So now for the recipe....
Marion's Beef Rolls
1 Box CO-OP Phyllo Pastry Sheets (16 sheets to a box)
1.5 cups butter, melted
1.5 hearty bunch of fresh Italian Parsley
2 onions, minced
10 tbsp of prepared creamed horseradish
1000 grams deli garlic roast beef, sliced

Chop up fresh parsley. Mince up onion. Melt butter in microwave safe bowl. Add onion, parsley and horseradish. Incorporate.
Lay 2 sheets of Phyllo pastry ontop of each other, pull back top half and spread with pastry brush, the butter mixture. Fold up the top piece, then do the same with the bottom. Once your two pieces have butter in-between them, lightly brush to edges with more butter mixture.
Cut pastry into quarters, then each quarter into quarters again = 16 pieces.
Lay a strip of beef ontop of piece and roll up.
Repeat with remaining pastry, horseradish butter and beef.
Place on a parchment lined baking tray and bake at 400 degrees F for 8-10 minutes until golden and crisp. Watch closely not to burn.
Serve with a horseradish mayo for dipping.

Note* I have modified the recipe above to accommodate enough for 1 box of CO-OP Phyllo. In my photos I had left over Phyllo so therefore was able to do the Turkey Rolls from the same box.
For the Turkey breast rolls I used 1/2 cup butter to 1 cup of cranberry sauce.
I would imagine your fillings are endless but you could also try Chicken breast with garlic butter or Ham with Dijon Mustard butter.

NOW, I know this looks like ALOT OF WORK - but I promise you it will be entirely worth it! And if I could do it (and take photos of every step to share with you), then you have no excuse - now get rolling!!!!


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Fall Has Arrived....

It's here....inevitably fall has arrived. For most people this is a solemn time of year that they can't wait for to pass. I however, love the crispness of the days, the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, and the finale of growth. It is not the end of a period, but a start of something new. I, under any other circumstance, detest the colors of oranges and rusts, but welcome these hues on the leaves and yards scattered throughout.
This past weekend we visited a family corn maze and farm to take some photos of my little guy!!! The colors were well pronounced in the pumpkin patch and the fields of corn that lined the roads. Stay warm and enjoy the season!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

How To Coupon In Canada (And Other War Stories)....

Over 6 months ago, I began "couponing". Why? Why not???? Saving money is a good thing - which is what has been instilled to me since I was little!!! I may not always be good at it, but I try where I can. Plus the rush of a really good deal is indescribable!!!

So today my family went to our local "GREEN & YELLOW GROCERY CHAIN" in Calgary. I was so excited to use my Greenworks Coupons that I had printed directly from the Clorox site! Seeing as I run a day home, this was an awesome save for me because they were to price match the Shoppers Drug Mart Flyer that had all Greenworks on sale for $1.99, then I would apply my $1.50 off coupon (from the Clorox site) and this would make each one a total of .49 cents!! As these are regular price of $5.99 at pretty much any store in Canada, I would have had an 91% savings!! I had already used a stack of coupons at Shoppers Drug Mart yesterday and they were more than happy to take the coupons, and my money. However, my experience at the "GREEN & YELLOW GROCERY CHAIN" was less than that! The "Ass"istant Manager that came over to the till who did the price adjustment just about came across the conveyor belt at me, shouting "YOU CAN"T USE THESE!!! THEY ARE REPRODUCTIONS!!!" Reproductions???? Really buddy????? It's called "I hit print on my computer 10 times" as these are "printable only coupons". I didn't print one and photocopy it moron - that would be a REPRODUCTION!! How else would you like me to give it to you???? After he finished embarrassing the shit out of me to half of the store, I politely pointed out that I hadn't "photocopied" or "reproduced"the coupons and asked to speak with another Manager in the store. Fifteen minutes later and one husband and one baby waiting patiently for me in the car, the next form of Management appeared. She then looked my coupon over, listened to my story of how I was just treated like a "criminal" for attempting to use my coupons, and rebutted saying that "they don't take printed coupons" to which I said "Oh is that just today, because I have used them in the past here without a flinch of an eye?" (Also please see note 2.10 below - thanks for lying to me Mrs. "GREEN & YELLOW GROCERY CHAIN" Manager. Finally she took one of my coupons and said she would be right back. After consulting with another manager for another 10, she finally returned to tell me that they decided that I could use only five.
So as she stood there while I paid for my "5"...I gathered my Greenworks into my recycled bag and on my way out, explained to her that I would find other places to spend my money moving forward, if this is what they feel is an acceptable way to treat a customer! For a company that out and out advertises that they are "coupon friendly" what a sad display of customer service. Through the half hour it took me to save my money, I was made to feel utterly embarrassed!!!

On a side note: It is called a MANUFACTURERS COUPON. This means for all you people working at the "GREEN & YELLOW GROCERY CHAIN" or any other store out there that is unfamiliar with the send those coupons us customers give you back to the manufacturer and they refund your money to the store. It's NOT, I repeat...NOT coming out of your personal bank account not to be ever seen again!!!!

Here is what the L*bla*s (who own THE GREEN & YELLOW GROCERY CHAIN) Coupon Policy states:
Loblaws Banner Stores Coupon Policy

1.0 Policy
Coupon zone coupons, LCL flyer coupons, LCL website coupons and President’s Choice Financial® coupons are all gladly accepted according the terms and conditions printed on the coupon. Manufacture coupons are accepted for in store purchased items according to the guidelines listed in section 2.0.

2.0 Guidelines
2.1 The item being purchased must conform to the product details on the coupon including size, brand, quantity, co-purchased item etc.
2.2 Only Canadian coupons are accepted.
2.3 The expiry date must be valid.
2.4 The coupon must be presented at time of purchase.
2.5 A coupon cannot be redeemed against the “free” item in any offer where the customer buys more than one item to get one or more item for free (BOGO deals). Eg. Buy one bag of chips, get a second bag of chips free – a single coupon can be applied to the purchase of the two bags.
2.6 Coupons have no cash value.
2.7 If the coupon value exceeds the retail value of an item, the coupon value will be reduced to reflect the retail of the item.
2.8 All sales taxes are paid by the customer at the retail value of the product. Refer to 2.9 to see Free Item guideline.
2.9 The value of a coupon that offers a product for free will include the amount of any applicable taxes.
2.10 Home printed coupons from emails or websites are accepted in black/white or colour. Manufacture coupons must have a valid manufacture address on the printed coupon, expiration date and be completely legible.
2.11Photocopies are not accepted.
2.12 Coupons are void if they appear distorted or blurry.
2.13 One coupon only per item purchased may be redeemed during each store visit, even if a limit statement is not included on the coupon. Coupon stacking is not allowed.
2.14 The Store Management reserves the right to restrict individual item purchase quantities to reasonable family limits.

3.0 General Information
3.1 Each coupon will be reviewed to ensure it complies with the details of the section 2.0
Guidelines. We appreciate your patience during this validation process.
3.2 Customers with excessive amounts of coupons in a single order may be asked to relocate to complete their order as a courtesy to our other Customers.
3.3 We may change this policy without notice at any time.
3.4 All coupon redemptions are subject to the policy in effect at time of redemption. 3.5 Competitor’s coupons are not accepted.

I did NOT break any part of their policy, I guess aside from 2.14 - I guess they have the right to tell me what I "need" to save!!!
What it really is is a bunch of B.S.!!! Welcome to our fine country, where we squeeze the farmer/producer for the lowest price = to then jack up the price as high as we can and take as much money as we can get from hard working citizens!! I CAN make these statements fairly, as I grew up on a farm and have seen first hand how farmers pressed for the smallest amount they can give them for their hard work and labor! I CAN make these statements fairly, as I worked for a large conglomerate food company that acted as the middle man, selling to restaurants, so I know the amount of $$$$$ built into something called "MARGIN". So shame on you Mr. Retailer, for squashing the regular joe for trying to save a buck or two here and there, shame on you!!!!
An thank you Clorox for giving us great savings - us pea-ons appreciate keeping some money in our pockets every now and then.

So if you want to save a dollar or two in this country, be for-warned that you need alot of time and some thick skin to put up with the B.S. that comes along with it! Happy shopping friends!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Nursery Feature Wall Reveal....

So many people have been writing me asking to see Baby Jaxon's Nursery Feature Wall. I finally found some time to work on this intense project with the help of my good friend Nelia! The total project time was about 4 hours (plus a couple cocktails - but not too many - we had to keep the letters straight on the wall - FYI the following photos are taken crooked for effect - the letters aren't crooked!!) Lots of that time was burned up because I was indecisive on the layout!!! That's what happens when I have too many choices! As you will see from the photos, because the alphabet letters came in 3 pages and had to be separately cut - that then gave me creative grace to place them wherever I desired on the wall. This was a very tedious project but with her patience and my determination...we bonded over the alphabet yesterday afternoon....and Jaxon finally got his Alphabet Inspired Feature Wall!!! We used alphabet letters cut from a store I found on Etsy, Janey Mac Vinyl Wall Art. And were even able to incorporate a vinyl owl I had ordered off of Etsy before Jaxon arrived!! The gals at Janey Mac were very accommodating when I shared my vision on a wall covered in 3 tone alphabet letters with Jaxon's name all in one colour so that it would somewhat stand out!!! They were almost as excited as I was about the project so I hope they will be just as pleased as I am with the reveal!!!
So here is how it all went down....
The letters arrived like so....

We very carefully cut each and every letter out...measured out working space and built the layout on the floor....

Then it was time to "GO LIVE" and get them on the wall! Here is a before shot of the wall space we were working on...

And drummmmmrolll is what the finished wall looked like...

Would love to hear what you think....leave me a comment or two if you wish!
Have a fantastic week and thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I'M ON ETSY!!!! And A Giveaway!!!!

So if finally took the plunge and opened a little store on Etsy!!! I love this site soooo very much! I have bought some of the neatest little gifts for people from people off of Etsy and it is my go-to browsing site of all time! If this is the first time you are hearing about it, well I definately encourage you to check out all the shops it has to offer. If you are a returning customer...I encourage you to check out my NEW shop! Which brings us to the GIVEAWAY!!!! All you have to do is go to my Etsy store HERE and take a little "looksee" - then come back to my blog and comment on my store so far or offer up any suggestions on what you think I should offer moving forward! You can also earn an additional entry by sharing in a post a link to your favourite Etsy Store! It's that simple!!! The draw will close at midnight on December 15th and one lucky winner will receive one item of their choice from my ETSY store!!

I thought I would also like to take this opportunity to share some of my favourite shops that I have come across at Etsy!!

First up is Janey.Mac Vinyl Wall Art
I have just ordered a project for Jaxon's nursery wall that just arrived the other day. I can hardly wait to document to process and post it for all of you! Stay tuned for that one!

Next is Betsy Farmer Designs! I simply love this jewellery! Custom work and stunning!

Two Pink Hearts provided me with my awesome camera strap cover...

And Amy at Custom Creations made me the most beautiful quilted travel bag to take to the hospital when Jaxon arrived! He now uses it to travel with!

These are just a few of my favourite places to check out on Etsy....why don't you share your favourite store with me and grab a chance or two to win something fun!!!!!

A Spicy Re-org...

And now to tackle that hideous "SPICE CABINET".....
Listen...I am going to spare you the confusion, disgust, and trauma that a photo of the "before" would have given you!

I am just going to cut to the chase - long story short - THESE are the containers that used to house my many spices!!! They would fall all over you when you opened up the cupboard, IF you could get the lid off without ending up with spices all over you, you would be pissed to find out that you were completely out of chilli powder whilst the chilli was simmering on the stove, awaiting it's last ingredient!!! Something HAD TO BE DONE!!!!

These are the AWESOME Tupperware containers that the spices are GOING to be in!!!

I used my handy-dandy Dyno Labelmaker and clear Dynotape to make the labels, trimmed them and put them onto the containers.

Filled the containers with the coordinating spices and ta-dah!!! No more mayhem!!!
Off to prepare a spicy dinner!!!